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Visual Fluency: Visual Literacy

Open to: Grades 7-12
Prerequisite: Qualifying reading/verbal score
Challenge Level: College Freshman
Course Format: Web-based
Recommended School Credit: One-half academic year
Course Length: Session-based; 10 weeks (Fall, Winter, Spring); 12 weeks (Early Summer); or 5 weeks (intensive Late Summer). Session dates.
Course Code: VLIT

Course Description

About Visual Fluency

quiz question

Digital technology has made the ability to create and share images commonplace. "The ability to both read and write visual information; the ability to learn visually; to think and solve problems in the visual domain - will, as the information revolution evolves, become a requirement for success in business and in life," says Dave Gray.

Visual fluency is now as vital as verbal fluency to success in college and life. These courses incorporate principles of communication theory, design theory, cognitive psychology, and art history to provide a basic understanding of the fundamental principles of effective visual communication.

Visual Literacy

Have you ever thought about what makes certain visual images effective? In this course, you will explore the components of a visual message. You will recognize the building blocks of visual composition and learn to deconstruct and analyze visual messages. The images used in this course include historically significant images as well as student contributions of displays seen in everyday life. In this course, students develop a vocabulary for visual critique to be a more careful and precise observer and a more descriptive writer.

Materials Needed

Down to Recommended Software

Readings

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. William Morrow Paperbacks.
ISBN: 978-0060976255 Available in many bookstores.

cover of understanding comics

Seeing the Future -- you can download the pdf.cover of seeing the future

Recommended Software

Photoshop, which costs, or GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), which is free.

NOTE

For this course, your operating system's built-in image software (Paint for Windows or Paintbrush for Mac) is adequate.

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

Visual Literacy

Lesson 1: Putting the "eye" in communication

Objectives
Visual Rhetoric
Designing Visual Communication- Sender-Receiver Theory
How We See
Value and Hue
Color: Building Block of Design
Image Cognition Assignment (ICA)

Lesson 2: The Whole Greater than a Sum of its Parts

Objectives
Best Practices in Image Use
Dot & Line: Building Blocks of Design
Gestalt: The Whole is the Sum of its Parts
Optical Illusions and Gestalt
Actively Viewing Images
Image Cognition Assignment (ICA)

Lesson 3: The Signifier and the Sign

Objectives
Shape: Building Block of Design
Visual Semiotics
Semiotics: Intended and Unintended meanings
Images and Authenticity
Aesthetics and signs
Image Cognition Assignment (ICA)

Lesson 4: Wired for Visual Persuasion

Objectives
Persuasive Visuals
Texture and Lighting: Building Blocks of Design
Appealing to Reason: Presenting Visual Data
Sequencing and Motion
Infographics for visual persuasion
Image Cognition Assignment (ICA)

Lesson 5: Visuals for Diverse Audiences

Objectives
Considering Cross-cultural Audiences
The Role of Images of People Across Cultures
Depth and Perspective
Color: Persuading Different Audiences
Cross-cultural Semiotics and Persuasion
Image Cognition Assignment (ICA)

Time Required

  • 3 hours weekly for the 10-week or 12-week sessions (Fall, Winter, Spring, Early Summer)
  • 2 hours daily Monday - Friday during the intensive 5-week session (Late Summer)

Summer Session Daily Calendars

Summer Schedules

Up to two weeks of vacation is allowed in the Early Summer Session. No vacations are allowed in the intensive Late Summer Session.

Down to Late Summer Session (5 weeks)

Sample Early Summer Session, June 4 - August 26, 2017 (12 weeks)

DATE

EVENT

NOTES:

  • Work is due by end of the day, not start of the day. Students use the due day to complete work due that night.
  • Vacations are allowed and must be negotiated at the start of the course with the instructor.
  • When student takes vacation, the schedule moves to later (#2 is due when #3 was due, #4 is due when #5 was due, etc.). Lessons cannot be moved out of sequence.

Monday, June 4

Course begins:

  • Students download materials from the online course classroom
  • Post introductions to classroom
  • Begin work on Lesson 1

Monday, June 11

Lesson 1 Exercises 1-5 due

Monday, June 18

Lesson 1 Image Cognition Assignment (ICA) due

Tuesday, June 19

FWA 1 Workshop Opens

Monday, June 25

Lesson 2 Exercises 1-5 due

Monday, July 2

Lesson 2 Image Cognition Assignment (ICA) due

Tuesday, July 3

FWA 2 Workshop Opens

Monday, July 9

Lesson 3 Exercises 1-5 due

Monday, July 16

Lesson 3 Image Cognition Assignment (ICA) due

Tuesday, July 17

FWA 3 Workshop Opens

Thursday, July 19

Lesson 4 Exercises 1-5 due

Thursday, July 26

Lesson 4 Image Cognition Assignment (ICA) due

Friday, July 27

FWA 4 Workshop Opens

Thursday, August 2

Lesson 5 Exercises 1-5 due

Thursday, August 9

Lesson 5 Image Cognition Assignment (ICA) due

Friday, August 10

FWA 5 Workshop Opens

Tuesday, August 14

Makeup Lesson (exercises) due

Tuesday, August 21

Makeup Lesson (ICA) due, including FWA workshop

Friday, August 24

Course ends,
No work accepted after today

 

2 to 3 weeks after the course ends, students receive:

  • Certificate of Participation
  • Detailed, one-page course completion document

Sample Intensive Midsummer Session, July 2 - August 5, 2018 (5 weeks)

DATE

EVENT

  • Work is due by end of the day, not start of the day. Students use the due day to complete work due that night.
  • Vacations are NOT allowed.
  • Textbook purchase is necessary.

Monday, July 2

Course begins:

  • Students download materials from the online course classroom
  • Post introductions to classroom
  • Begin work on Lesson 1

Thursday, July 5

Lesson 1: Exercises 1 thru 5 due

Monday, July 9

Lesson 1 Image Cognition Assignment (ICA) due

Tuesday, July 10

Lesson 1 Workshop begins

Thursday, July 12

Lesson 2: Exercises 1-5 due

Monday, July 16

Lesson 2 ICA due; Lesson 1 Workshop ends

Tuesday, July 17

Lesson 2 Workshop begins

Thursday, July 19

Lesson 3: Exercises 1-5 due

Monday, July 23

Lesson 3 ICA due; Lesson 2 Workshop ends

Tuesday, July 24

Lesson 3 Workshop begins

Thursday, July 26

Lesson 4: Exercise 1-5 due

Monday, July 30

Lesson 4 ICA due; Lesson 3 Workshop ends

Tuesday, July 31

Lesson 4 Workshop begins

Thursday, August 2

Lesson 5: Exercises 1-5 due

Monday, August 5

Lesson 5 ICA due; Lesson 4 workshop ends
Lesson 5 Workshop begins and will remain open one week.
Course ends
No work accepted after today

 

2 to 3 weeks after the course ends, students receive

  • Certificate of Participation
  • Detailed, one-page course completion document 

Sample First Assignment

Demo

Note: The links and videos in this .pdf do not work.

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

 

 

Reviews

“The course was great, and overall my favorite course I've done.”  

“I was so pleased to find this kind of course available for my son. I'm very grateful for the in-depth curriculum you offered in this field-it's a unique offering and it's so great to have this available to young students. . . . . My son has repeatedly commented that he's so glad he's taken this course, and is very excited to continue the series. Highly recommended for any kid who is interested in design and visual communication.”